Instagram is broken. Here’s how to improve it in a few steps.

4 min read | published January 28, 2023

picture this scenario:

@____________ followed you
@____________ likes your photo
@____________ commented on your photo.

All of them just bots who disguise themselves as real people. But — you only figure that out, after you’ve been notified, opened the app and visited each of their profiles. Your curiosity has been abused to promote a business, an “influencer” or some other product that just wants to market itself. Your post is of zero interest to them.

What’s the purpose of the app notifying me of a comment/follow/like that is completely generic and its only intent is to make me look at the persons profile? I and probably many others have lost their trust in the Instagram notification system and therefore Instagram itself. I refuse to believe that this is how it is supposed to work.

If you had a friend that keeps notifying you about people who just want to trick you into paying them attention, or sell you stuff that you don’t care about, would you keep calling him a friend? Yet, we keep interacting with Instagram and just try to filter the noise ourselves. Uhm, technology? Why do you even exist?

I don’t know the exact percentage of users that are fake or engage in bot-like behaviour, but I’m sure it’s somewhere in the double-digits.
Think about this for a second. That’s hundreds of thousands of users surrounding us and abusing the app and the community. Social media needs to grow up.

let’s start simple

One way to limit this abuse, is to be more strict about the amount of comments/likes/follows one can make per day. Especially on accounts that you do not even follow.

automated genuine hashtags

These days, if you want to be discovered, it’s not about posting the prettiest/most exciting/interesting pictures, but rather about who uses the best hashtags. There’s even videos on YouTube that tell you about the most effective hashtags to use. Seriously!? How does this make any sense on a mostly photographic community? How did we get here?

We take more time to think about what hashtags to use, than actually trying to create an interesting photograph. It should be the other way around.

Google Photos, and Apple Photos have implemented AI/machine learning algorithms that actually know what is shown on our photos. So what if the most popular photo community implements a similar technology and applies genuine hashtags itself?

For example: You shouldn’t be able to tag an image with #beach or #likesforlikes if it is taken in a garage just to extend your reach. This takes the authenticity out of social media. It turns it into a hashtag competition rather than putting the focus on the image itself.

Maybe it’s not a foolproof solution and needs to provide some type of fall-back, but these #dumbhashtags need to go.

pin comments to their respective hashtags

So now that we’ve got this problem out of the way, let’s tackle another issue.

I hardly read the comments of people with a large following since most just contain tags of other people, or something like “Wow” “Lit!” and “💪”. The like button exists for a reason and if people would only add a comment when they have something meaningful to say, it would improve the entire experience, so:

Say @danbilzerian has an image at a Halloween party, with lots of drinks, crazy costumes, decoration and a location tagged. The genuine-hashtag algorithm works its magic and automatically applies the following hashtags: “Halloween”, “costume”, “party”, “drinks” and let’s say “Dan Bilzerians mansion”.

Now everyone can comment in regards to those hashtags that have been applied. This would make it a lot easier to read opinions about something specific on that photo for example. There can still be a general section for all those “💪” lovers, you know, #freedomofspeech.

Additionally, the algorithm can then pick up even more hashtags from those comments if it sees words that appear over and over again.

These are just some ideas on the frustrations that I and many other people experience due to the abuse of Instagram’s features. I’m sure they are nowhere near perfect and I encourage you to share your own.

Maybe @instagram is listening and finds some inspiration in these words and uses it to enhance the experience for all of us. That being said: If you’re a real person, follow me on instagram: @syriaz.